David Krasnow, David Krasnow, Senior Editor Studio 360
David Krasnow is the Senior Editor of Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, working with Kurt, the producers, and contributing reporters to set the editorial direction and tone of the show.
Mark my words: the beginning of the 21st century is going to be remembered as a golden age of chamber music. A generation of musicians has come of age under the influence of the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can, and Brian Eno, pioneers who did the heavy lifting of busting musical categories. On the ground they cleared, some phenomenal music is being played now. A case in point is the new debut from the Janus Trio, i am not.
Like many contemporary ensembles, Janus has an entrepreneurial spirit about repertoire: if you don’t like the music that exists for your band, get some new music. Janus is a trio of flute, viola, and harp, and there’s not a wide shelf of compositions — so they’ve commissioned some of the best young composers in America to rethink the possibilities for them. This album showcases work by, among others, Anna Clyne, Jason Treuting, and Caleb Burhans, whose piece “Keymaster” the group played at the Kennedy Center in 2009.
Various experimental techniques show up on I Am Not — spoken voices, electronic crackle, tapping feet, humming into the flute — but they never overwhelm the precise, luscious voices of the instruments. It’s only a shame that the album doesn’t include the Debussy trio they played recently at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. Translucently delicate and beautiful, it laid to rest any lingering suspicions that contemporary players can’t or won’t do justice to classical repertoire.